We arrive by boat, the only means of access on the island of Jedediah. With an eerie landscape of abandoned farm-holds, rotting fence posts and ownerless sheep herds it always seems like something sinister happened on this island. I came here with my brother at this relatively unknown island location, off the coast of the much larger island Texada, the largest in the Georgia Strait. We were on an adventure, or more specifically, looking for the remains of the islands legendary Goat Man. Much was unclear of this medical marvel, and few had heard, let alone agree on the validity of this man whom had been shamed into a lonely life of solitude and rejection
Jedediah island was owned by the family Palmers who used it initially as a vacation spot, eventually becoming full time residents. They lived there for twenty years. Mary Palmer, the ‘supposedly’ last remaining resident, along with the Follow Your Dream Foundation, provided funds, which were then matched by the Provincial government to buy the island and turn it into a provincial park. Now known officially as the Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park, at 243 hectares, it is small, and we feel that a chance encounter with Joshua the Goatman, if he was real, would not take long.
It is said that a man named Joshua, came to the Island for the simple reason that it shared the name his mother had given him. The man had hitchhiked as a musician and talented entertainer all the way from his hometown of O’Leary, Prince Edward Island, because a rival boy band in the neighboring town of Tignish, were out to get him, but that’s a different and funny story, completely unrelated to folklore and to adventure in general. When Josh arrived on Jededia he took up residence on the island at the request of the Palmer family after a chance encounter on his first day on the island. Although he had only planned to stay for a single day, he began to assist with the maintenance of the farming operations and islands live stock for room and board. Being from PEI, the boy had lived on a Potato Farm, and fit in instantly with the rhythm and chores of farm life. With his guitar, flavored maritime humor, and a farmer’s work ethic, he was soon accepted into the family’s daily operations on the island. During the winter the Palmer family would abandon the island, now wrapped in cloud and saturated by heavy rains, for greener pastures down south. Jedediah was to spend his first winter alone.
His winter was largely uneventful, until one thunderstorm, changed his life forever. On that stormy night Jedediah was out tending to the sheep when a lightning bolt struck a tree, which fell upon the young man. His legs were badly shattered and he was pinned under the tree. Alone, cold and loosing blood, Jedediah was forced to sever off his own two legs with his hunting knife which was always sharp as his grandfather highly valued the state of the little boys knife, saying only a lazy man carries a dull blade.
Unable to call for help from his unfortunate position, he called upon the sheep, who had fled when the lightning had struck, and stayed away from his screams of his pain. Eventually he coaxed one over and struck it in the throat with his knife. Skinning the beast, he used its entrails as a rope to tie off his stubs, and the sheep coat to stay warm. His skin was badly burned from the heat of the tree after it had fallen on him and the sheep’s skin began grafting to replace the mans own. Jedediah’s struggle of horrific pain was not yet over, although he had staved off hypothermia and blood loss for the moment, he was still far away from being safe from the elements of the storm, and he was unable to get himself to his cabin. He decided sometime within the night that he needed legs to navigate the tricky and rocky terrain back to his cabin, and with some coaxing and cooing, managed to tussle another sheep for his uses, medical uses. This time he took the sheep’s hind legs, and thread he had rendered from the entrails, to stitch the beasts hind legs to what remained of his own. It was not long, with the help of medicinal cloves and a strange jelly fungus, that the legs were usable and he was able to stumble his way to the cabin on his hooves that naturally took to the rocky terrain goats so gracefully navigate. He spent the rest of the winter alone, isolated and healing in that cabin, allowing the rest needed by the body to accept such alien grafts of body parts. He soon became delusional and afraid of what people would think of his new makeover. He soon began a lifestyle one could only define as ‘alternative’. He began seeking the companionship of the sheep herds, and started sleeping outside, rather than inside the cabin given to him for the winter. He never wanted a human to see him in such state.
After this not much else is know of this elusive goat man, and because no one has seen this poor soul in the last decade at least, many hypothesize that he has met some demise. Others suggest he made his way to the mainland, and now resides in the Caren Range, or works in Quebec as an organic farmer. Me and my brother had never seen any signs or heard any local tales in the Caren Range, and a trip to rural Quebec didn’t really sound like a realistic adventure. We agreed that Jedediah island was the best and most convenient way to spend the day. The small island of Jedediah makes for a perfect location to explore the legend of the Goatman.
Regardless, we didn’t find anything concrete, many suggestive clues of sheep bones, empty grassy meadows, and easily spooked sheep flocks eluded to a sinister presence. But we were not soured, a good adventurer always has many side paths and other missions pop up, it was a good day of touring the strange and beautiful island. It is always good to keep an eye out for the Goatman’s remains, as Joshua the Goatman has so much to offer in terms of medical surgery studies, transplant practices and nerve development. If we found Josh’s remains, his bone structure would yield a lot of information on surgical science that’s for sure. I mean, a goat leg growing onto a mans! How can that work, how does that happen? If only we could coax the embarrassed and alienated Goat Man of Jedediah into the light of science. And what of his story, his family back in PEI, or of his own wishes and hopes for his future? There is so much unknown and doubted about this man. This folklore was largely forgotten until the recent occurrence of shoes with feet left in them started washing up on beaches, with the first on Jedediah Island. Coincidence, or is The Goat Man experimenting with another surgical operation, driven by his desire for re-acceptance into the human world he has been so tragically alienated from.